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Sabbath Day – of Epic Proportions

May 7, 2016

This year is 18 weeks old.

I have violated my Sabbath day eleven times (meaning more than three hours of work each day). Or seen from another perspective, I have only observed a complete Sabbath (no work) only three times.

I have good friends who never rest. Who work through their weekends. My plight is not uncommon. I know. Nevertheless, I want to mark this as a loss…

of biblical proportions.

Thus, this strange week.

I stayed home during the day on Monday, rather than go to my office, in an attempt to regain Sabbath time (even though I was to spend four hours at the church that evening). My day of doing laundry and reading theology and travel memoirs was nevertheless rejuvenating.

On Wednesday, I found myself with a surprisingly free hour at church which I used to move boxes. Up stairs and down stairs. At one point, shelving financial records from 2002, my lower back recoiled. I stopped, and moved on with my day. Not knowing what that “whine” in my back foretold.

On Thursday, my reputed Sabbath day, I woke up in pain. Hours of tossing and turning in bed had told me I was in trouble even before the day began. My back was in so much pain I was frequently nauseous throughout the day. Coincidently, my son woke up with a fever, so we stayed home together, each trying to rest and mend. Despite my pain, I attended a Yom ha Shoah vigil a noon time. A human rights obligation but a health mistake. Ninety minutes standing outside set me back. I felt lucky to make it back home without being sick.

Friday found us (my son and I) sharing the same virus, restless but resting. We built legos, took naps, commiserated. Neither of us ate (feed a fever, starve a cold?) until the obligatory “movie/pizza night”. My back felt marginally but markedly better.




I got to share two days with my son.

With no energy for play, or for work, we read to one another. Not to let even this sickly opportunity be wasted, we began reading Homer out loud. The Iliad. Never did I imagine that reading Homer would be … funny. Over and over we have fallen to the floor laughing at the ridiculous boasting, bragging, and buffoonery of Paris, Menelaus, and Agamemnon. “If only,” August thought, “Achilles would have killed Agamemnon by page six, the whole war would have been averted.” We only stop reading when the story became too exciting.

… and …

we also imbibed Shakespeare, in the Kenneth Branagh production of Much Ado About Nothing. With just few moments of censorship, we thoroughly enjoyed this movie, laughing out loud and uncontrollably at the scheming and deception of Benedick, Beatrice, Don John and Claudio. August had seen a Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado last summer, so knew the story, dimly. We are attending a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream tomorrow, and this helped us “get our Shakespeare on.”


Many of my Friday obligations will be postponed to tomorrow, or to Sunday. My two days at home, while necessitated by care for my son, were also spent in self-care for my own body in pain. My back is better, if tender. None of this was my vision for a Sabbath day, yet it was what was called for.  And surprisingly rich. If not what I would have wished. It made for Sabbath day I will remember for a long time to come…


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